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Losing Hope in Kuala Lumpur

February 3, 2010

Wandering through the Central Market in Kuala Lumpur we found ourselves suddenly trapped indoors – a violent thunderstorm had erupted outside, flooding the roads in mere seconds and causing all to take shelter.  Deciding to stay awhile and take cover, we wandered into a small crafts shop where we met  Masidah Masidi, an 18 year old Malay student, who worked at the shop.  As luck would have it, we had our camera and tripod with us, and so we settled in to pick Masidah’s brain about her thoughts for the future of the Earth, humanity, and Malaysia.

Masidah spoke in Malay, but we are fortunate enough to have two Malay-speaking friends – Euming Chong, and Casey Hilliard – who agreed to later transcribe her interview for us into English.  Masidah spoke with a smile on her face, and a gentle sing-song tone in her voice – so naturally we were quite surprised upon hearing the translation later on, to learn that in fact she was speaking about her lack of hope for the future of humankind.  Masidah feels that things will continue to get worse in the future with respect to wars and human conflict.  She feels that despite our efforts, our conflict situations and environmental crises will escalate until we are no longer able to cope with the consequences.

She sees our only hope as lying in the hands of individuals who are willing to change their personal lifestyles for the betterment of our future – however she concedes that few are willing to make these sacrifices and make the mind-shift required.  “…in reality, no one will make that change…” she says.  She does however posit a possible solution for the way forward:  children.  She suggests we focus our efforts on educating our children on issues of war, peace, and environmental sustainability in order that they can grow up with this embedded within their consciousness.   This, she says will allow them to have a greater understanding of our problems and their consequences, and hopefully enable them to find some solutions.

Our visit with Masidah was short – given that we didn’t understand what she was saying, we were unable to question her more deeply, or engage in any deeper discussion about her thoughts.  I suspect she’d have a great deal more to share, if given the opportunity.

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